Coronavirus lockdown week 7 – Hastings Battleaxe feels busy

Well, feels, but not actually busy. Just a little stressed. After pottering in the garden, I thought I’d take advantage of a period of quiet to tackle this blog post. We have builders (Matt, the nice bloke from next door) doing the roof of our verandah/porch at the front of the house. It had been leaking in the winter. These jobs are never as simple as they seem… see below. The nation seems to be in a state of arousal at the moment – the media are trumpeting about relaxing the lockdown as from Monday. Seems like some people trust the government so little that they will be reluctant to emerge into the light, while others care so little about anything the government has to say that they are all over the place at the say-so of the Sun… Anyway, our garden is looking good…

Clematis on our garden arch.

We are due to be told something about lock-down lifting on Sunday. I suspect it will be little that Philosopher and I are not doing already – going out for long walks, travelling in the car to nearby places, yakking with friends and neighbours at safe social distance.  Risky though that sounds we are actually very careful – and it appears that Hastings has got off incredibly lightly (touch wood so far) COVID-wise. Look at these figures. Wonder why. I know we are geographically cut off but still.  Otherwise, the UK has the highest death toll in Europe. Well done Tories. A great success not.

Talking of neighbours,  tomorrow is VE Day. Now look, WW2 nostalgia fests are not for me – but us neighbours are going to meet out in the road for a socially distanced drinking hour. Am quite happy to raise a glass with others to celebrate our all coming through this, but hold the Vera Lynn please. However, I just thought as a VE day gesture I would post this picture of my father in his WW2 uniform. My mother always had this photo on her dressing table for as long as I can remember.

Would you believe my father died in 1989? 31 years ago…. He was already 40 when I was born, so did not die young. He had an eventful war – was in the 8th Army, the Desert Rats, including at El Alamein, then in Sicily, (Monte Cassino) Germany…. As I think I have said before, I have files full of ‘Sit Reps’ – signals sent during the North African campaign. They belong with a military historian.  Here is just one pulled out at random. Looking up the date, it refers to the outbreak of a battle called Wadi Akarit, or ‘Operation Scipio’, in April 1943.

Like so many people, I asked my father very little about his experiences, and he volunteered hardly anything. I just remember him telling me about the living carpets of cockroaches in the tents. I wish I had asked more.

Needless to say the national WI is in a land-girls and jam hoo haa… I have just finished and sent out the June edition of the East Sussex WI News. All home produced.  Ten pages of it… So, I suppose I have been busyish.  Our staff are furloughed so the activities of our Federation  are all down to us volunteer Trustees.

Arrgh – the builders are back outside my study window doing something roaring and burningy with a blow torch and a gas cylinder. They are literally four feet from my head. Poor men. Matt thought it was going to be a really easy job but when they started it turns out the flat roof wasn’t felt, but impacted layers of tar and bitumen, which had to be chiselled and drilled off bit by painful bit. Still, it is all off now and they are putting something or other on. Hopefully they will finish tomorrow?

Our great pleasure has been once again, our walks. The weather is warm and sunny once more, and the countryside is just looking magical – the flowers have gone mad. We went to the Country Park again yesterday – it was like a secret fairy kingdom. So many flowers. Bluebells are still out, plus white stichwort and red/pink campion. The blackthorn blossom has gone, replaced by pungent swathes of hawthorn. It is almost too smelly for me. We have discovered several new walks that we can still do when all this finishes, which is a great positive.

A few days before that we went to St Leonard’s and did a circular walk taking in St Leonard’s Gardens.

Marine Court looking liner-like

Battleaxe and Philosopher – a walk selfie

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